But I want one

Yesterday I did something fun and rewarding, but it also made me realize I'm still such a brat.  James and I got to go shopping for supplies for him to take on his mission trip to South Sudan.  This is James's second trip to South Sudan, and he will be staying in a school that also houses orphans living in the capital city.

South Sudan has captured my heart for a few different reason.  The first one is that God used James's first trip to South Sudan two years ago to call us to adoption.  That trip changed the course of our lives.  Every decision we've made in the last two years has been put through the filter of our adoption.

My brothers and sisters in Christ.  This is the church James attended in 2012.

The second reason I love South Sudan is that we've made friends with the South Sudanese refugees here in our city.  Lual and Diana Majok are on fire to reach and disciple our city of Amarillo.  They are an inspiration to me.

Watch this video to meet Lual (He's at 4 1/2 minutes in.):

Who is my neighbor? from Citychurch Amarillo on Vimeo.

Watch this video to meet his wife Diana (She's at 6 minutes in.):

Merry Christmas From Citychurch from Citychurch Amarillo on Vimeo.

Doesn't Diana handing out tracks and videos to Muslim refugees at her job at Tyson foods inspire you?  It does me!  She's amazing.  I wish you could meet their five smart and beautiful children, too.

The third reason I have such a heart full of love for South Sudan is the stories I've heard of the Lost Boys and of their tribal wars.  Most recently, I've been inspired by this movie that was released this year.  If you haven't seen it, you need to watch it.  (Make sure you have some Kleenex handy!)

Clearly I love South Sudan.  I love the people.  I love the children.  I was excited to go to the store and buy goodies, medicine, and other things that would meet the physical needs of the children that James will be ministering to on his trip.

School and orphanage in South Sudan.  This is where the supplies are going.

Let me tell you where the problem came shopping last night.

I was walking around Target, and I couldn't stop myself from seeing objects I wanted.  It was complete ridiculous.  I was buying bandaids and pencils for orphans, and I couldn't help looking at stuff that I wanted.

I need for nothing, and these children need for almost everything.  Oh but the dishes.  And the pillows.  And the hair products.  And all the cute things.  I'm looking around thinking, that would be so perfect on my desk?

What is wrong with me?  Why am I still so wrapped up in consumerism?  I've spent the last few years reevaluating and realigning my materialism, and I'm still so easily sucked in.

After reading Jen Hatmaker's book Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess in 2012, completing the study and fasts from her book in 2013, going to Ethiopia in 2014, I am still struggling.

I'll tell you what my problem is.  I'm a sinner.  Romans 3:23 tells us that we all have sinned.  I'll never measure up.

This is what Jesus told me to do:
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21 ESV
And He said:
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money." Matthew 6:24 ESV
But I am looking around Target at earthly treasures and loving them.  Why can't I just treasure those sweet little South Sudanese children?  Why can't I just treasure my Savior?

Well, I'm repenting here.  And I am asking the Lord to continue to sanctify me.  I want to serve God and not money.  I want to be a slave to obedience and not a slave to sin.

"What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. 
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:15-23 ESV

You may be thinking, "Jennifer, you are being a little hard on yourself.  It's ok to decorate your desk and home.  We need stuff to live."  Let me tell you, I was there.  I felt where my heart was, and it was wrong.  This is such a battle for me, but I am going to continue to strive to please Him.  What Jesus asked us to do was radical and challenging.  It was black or white.  It was something I'll never completely get right here on Earth, but giving Him my whole heart is something to aim for.  Striving to serve only Him is a worthwhile goal.